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Fox adds more post-race coverage for NASCAR events

Photo by Chuck Burton

Photo by Chuck Burton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fox will offer extended post-race coverage of NASCAR with an online program beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Overdrive on FoxSports.com will begin immediately after the network ends its broadcast coverage of Sunday's Sprint Cup race. The program will use Fox's entire nine-person broadcasting crew and consist of live interviews and analysis that will be streamed to its Web site.

"It's something we should have been doing all along," Bill Brown, senior producer for Fox Sports, told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

"It's definitely a can't lose, especially when you take into account what the audience wants to see. We are trying to take care of an audience that has invested four hours into the race, wants more, and we can give them more."

Brown said the idea for an online show had been previously discussed, but network executives realized the immediate need for extended programming following Saturday night's broadcast at Phoenix International Raceway.

Viewers who tuned in for the 3 hours, 48 minutes then received only a brief post-race show of interviews with just the top three finishers. The broadcast ran 50 minutes past its allotted time, and Fox took two commercial breaks after the checkered flag that totaled almost seven minutes.

It left no time to follow-up with Denny Hamlin, who received considerable coverage for racing just 10 days after knee surgery. The network also didn't offer any coverage of Kyle Busch, who lost the race because of a late caution. Fox officials said Busch declined to be interviewed, but viewers were not informed of his unwillingness to speak.

"This weekend certainly gave us an awakening in a sense there were a bunch of stories we could have continued covering had we not had to go off the air," Brown said.

Brown said Fox will not set a hard time on how long The Overdrive will run since it will be dictated by storylines. He said all four pit reporters will pursue drivers, crew chiefs and owners for live interviews, mediated by studio hosts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond. The broadcast booth of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will also stay to contribute to the production.

"We definitely will have stories to talk about because this is a sport with 43 stories," Brown said. "Certainly the content is there to deliver, and it's just a matter of getting the drivers to understand we are still going to program and we may need them to stick around another five to 10 minutes."